Thursday, December 22, 2016

I Went to Wegmans by Myself

Well, I know it is a silly title for a post, but it sums up the joyful moments I had yesterday. Jim went to his Wednesday lunch with the guys. I ended up going to Wegmans to do some last minute grocery shopping for the holiday. I walked into Wegmans with my cart, and immediately realized I felt free! Free to shop, free from worry about Jim. I could take my time admiring the giant Honey Crisp organic apples that I love so much. I could gaze at the wonderful in-store whole grain breads, carefully picking and savoring my choice.

I immediately sent a quick text to my friend Amy "I am at Wegmans ALONE!" followed by a smiley face. She knew exactly what I meant. The experience probably sounds trivial to most, but it is a reminder to me of the "high alert" status I am in most of the time. That is not a complaint, simply an observation. It actually is a good thing. I believe that by staying in "high alert", I'm avoiding the pitfalls of letting my guard down when I am with Jim. It helps to prevent anxious moments and keeps things on an even keel.

The times when I must be most on guard are the times when other people are present. When others are present, it is a bit of a distraction for me, and therefore I am not as focused on what Jim might be thinking or feeling. Hence, the likelihood of an upset.

We are scaling back on our Christmas celebration. Jim and I no longer exchange gifts. Removing that expectation was the right thing to do. He no longer remembers birthdays, anniversary etc. For Christmas day we will have an open house between 1 - 4. Family is welcome to stop by. The focus will be on time together, not on presents. It all feels right.

I'll have some prepared food, nothing fancy. Mostly prepared by Costco or Wegmans. It just feels so much easier this year. In years past it was a formal dining experience, lots of homemade food, extra tables and chairs set up etc. With an open house, it will be much more casual, fewer people staying for shorter periods of time. Jim is actually looking forward to it.

The decline in his ability to speak conversationally still catches me a bit off guard. Before it was almost always pretty easy to figure out what he was referencing. It is getting harder to do so. Simple conversations are fine. But if he is trying to convey something to me, he often struggles mightily. He gets a little frustrated by this, but not as frustrated as one would expect.

Jim: "You know...." (long silence; I try to give him plenty of time to formulate what he is saying.)

Me: "Are you wondering about lunch with Mike?"

Jim: "No........." (Another long silence. I try to keep my body language quiet and comforting.)

Jim: "I don't know.....I don't remember what I was going to say...."

Me: "That's OK, you'll think of it later."

Jim: "Yeah..."

 This blog and all the wonderful readers who stop by are a source of comfort, kindness and inspiration. And so as the holiday unfolds before us, I am sending lots of love and warm wishes to all my blogging friends.



14 comments:

  1. And I wish you and Jim a peaceful and joyous holiday season. He is so lucky to have you. I know it, even if he doesn't. Merry Christmas! :-)

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    1. Thanks DJan, and Merry Christmas to you and Smart Guy! And I think Jim and both know we are lucky to have each other :-)

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  2. People who haven't experienced this kind of caregiving can't begin to appreciate how wonderful it is to have even a few minutes of free time when you don't have to be on high alert. It's better than wonderful.

    Your Christmas plans sound like a good plan for reducing stress on both of you. I'm guessing that's going to work out very well.

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    1. Thanks Linda. I remember when my mom took care of my dad (with dementia), even though I took an active role in helping with some of the caregiving, I never fully appreciated how confined my mom must have felt at times.

      I'm all about reducing stress and angst these days. Just makes life easier for everyone, especially for Jim.

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  3. I am so glad you had those moments and hope you are able to carve out some more. I has to be such a relief.
    You are smart to keep it simple and even smarter to limit the hours. It will be easier on Jim but also on you. Enjoy your family and have a wonderful, stress free as possible holidays.

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    1. "Enjoy the moment." That is my mantra these days, and it helps me to appreciate the good times when they happen.

      Thanks for the holiday wishes. Sending them right back to you :-)

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  4. I could feel the 'freedom' you experienced and hope you manage to get a few more brief outings alone. It will have done you good, I'm sure. Wishing you and Jim a trouble-free Christmas- you will be in my thoughts.

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    1. Those moments of "freedom" are precious. Thanks for the good wishes Valerie. I'm sending them right back to you :-)

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  5. Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas Carole.

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    1. Thanks, John. And the same to you.

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  6. Your description of those occasions of "freedom" -- however brief -- give new meaning to appreciating the moment. Your adaptations to the ever-changing unpredictable situations continue to be inspiring. May your and Jim's Christmas be enjoyable.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Joared. I'm sending warm wishes back to you for a wonderful Christmas holiday.

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  7. Merry Christmas, Carole. Aloha from Hawaii.

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    1. Aloha Gigi! (I just love saying Aloha!) Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas day.

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